Categories
Career & Finance

Debt Consolidation? Make It Make Sense

Debt consolidation. Bill consolidation. Credit consolidation. All these terms refer to a financial strategy whereby a person decides to take out a loan from one lender and payout all the other debts, bills, or credits from different lenders. It leaves you repaying only that single loan at a lower interest.

Many Americans have embraced debt consolidation; according to Globenewswire, it has resulted in an improvement in the credit scores for the users. So, should you also consider debt consolidation? 

To make this decision, you must dive into the deets of debt consolidation.

  • What are the pros and cons?
  • Is it right for you?
  • Should you get a debt consolidation plan or come up with a debt repayment plan by yourself?

Let’s dive into the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Pros

  1. One monthly repayment instead of many

With debt consolidation, you only have one loan to repay every month. It’s easier to budget for just a single loan instead of juggling between several loans.

When one has multiple loans, the primary question is, do I repay the smallest loan as I work my way to the biggest loan (Snowballing method), or do I repay the loan with the highest interest (Avalanche method)?

But, with a single loan, this isn’t a question. It’s easy to plan your monthly budget since you know exactly how much you’re supposed to pay off each month.

  1. Lower interest rate

Debt consolidation comes with a lower interest rate. This means that you can make smaller monthly repayments, thereby increasing your monthly cash flow. The increased monthly cash flow can help you live a decent life without depending on debt or relying on credit cards.

  1. It lifts your anxiety

Debt can really make you feel like you’re drowning, especially if the debts keep rising. A debt consolidation plan gives you peace of mind, knowing that you now have a plan. A plan to pay one monthly payment to one source every single month to offset your bills.

  1. Might increase your credit score

Taking out a debt consolidation plan and paying off your monthly repayments will eventually lead to an increased score. It demonstrates your ability to take out a loan and repay the loan diligently. This has a positive impact on your credit report.

Cons

  1. You incur a fee to move your debt from different lenders to one

When you’re moving your debt during debt consolidation, you might end up incurring a fee to move the loans — the money you could have used to settle your bills or repay your interest for the month.

  1. The compounded interest over time is higher

With a lower interest rate, you often get an extended repayment period. The longer repayment period means that over time, the amount of money you’ll pay is more.

  1. Increased risk 

What are the chances that after a couple of years, there will be an emergency or emergencies that will affect your ability to prepay the loan consistently?

Today, your financial situation might enable you to make a particular repayment every month. But, if after a few years you get a divorce, an accident or something tragic happens that grossly affects your financial situation, will you still manage to make the repayments?

  1. Double debt

If you get your debt consolidated, but for some reason, you start using your credit cards again, you might end up with double debt: the consolidated debt and the credit card debt. This negates the reason why you went for a debt consolidation plan in the first place.

  1. Debt consolidation isn’t paying off your loans

Unlike what many people think, debt consolidation isn’t paying off a single penny of your loans: it’s moving your loan. It doesn’t reduce your principal amount. If you continue with your negative spending habits, failing to control your need for immediate gratification, debt consolidation will not solve your debt issues. It will only make you feel good for a few months.

Tips:

  • If the terms being offered by the consolidation program seem too good to be true, be extra cautious. Get an expert to examine the offer before you jump in. 
  • If the interest rate you’re getting to consolidate your loans isn’t lower than the interest rate on all your credit cards and loans, then it does you no good to consolidate the loans.
  • Once you consolidate the credit card debt, you have to be ready to stop using the credit cards. 

In conclusion, debt consolidation can and is helping millions of people deal with debt and improve their credit score. But is it right for you?

Categories
Women's Health & Wellness

Belly Dance The Pain Away: Natural Cramp Cures That Work

If you suffer from severe menstrual cramps or see changes in your normal flow we highly suggest seeing a doctor. For the women who don’t need medical attention and want to get rid of their cramps naturally here’s what you can do.

1. Drink one or two cups of Red raspberry tea daily or days before your period. Red raspberry is a uterine tonic that can help relieve cramping and pelvic congestion. Uterine tonics are Women’s herbs for the female reproductive system. It’s mostly use to tone the muscles of the uterus during childbirth.

2. Eat more anti -inflammatory foods to reduce menstrual cramps. Have a daily serving of oil rich fish like salmon, cod or sardines to help reduce cramping.

3. Avoid processed foods. Let us repeat that again, avoid processed foods. Eating canned foods and processed meats will cause you menstrual pain and bloating. Trade processed foods for fresh fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. You’ll cut out a lot of sodium, which will reduce discomfort of water retention and bloating. You’ll also get plenty of complex carbohydrates, which means your blood sugar levels and mood will be steady.


4. You need more calcium. Try taking 1,000 milligrams a day. Calcium is known as one of the top treatments for premenstrual syndrome because it soothe cramps, back pains, bloating , mood swings, and food cravings. Magnesium helps too, but you don’t want to go over 200 milligrams once or twice a day. Too much magnesium can give you diarrhea.


5. This one is a old-school remedy. Use a Castor oil Pack to get rid of menstrual cramps. First, Spread enough castor oil on your abdomen and cover it with a plastic wrap. Then, place a heating pad or warm moist towel on your stomach. The heat will relax your muscles, causing the cramps to slowly disappear.

6. Now here comes the fun part. Studies show that exercise ease the premenstrual and menstrual symptoms. Here are two types of exercise shown to help relieve menstrual cramps.

Belly dance. Yes belly dancing, it is said that the movements taught in belly dancing are good for stretching your pelvis and keeping your cramps under control. In Egyptian cultures, belly dancing was a method used to increase blood circulation in a woman’s body; which prevent menstrual cramps. I highly suggest belly dancing a week or two before your period.

-Yoga is also good for menstrual problems because it relaxes your body causing pain to be less intense.

Categories
Women's Health & Wellness

DIY: The Ultimate Guide To Using Herbs For Yoni Steaming

Chances are if you’re reading this blog you’ve heard of yoni steaming and are ready to, or have already done a steam at home. In the off chance that you’ve heard nothing about yoni steaming, I’ll give you a little background. Yoni steaming is an ancient practice where a woman sits over a pot of herbs that has been steamed to reap the medicinal benefits through her vagina. Yoni steaming is said to help with pcos, fertility, cramps, irregular periods, fibroids, detoxifying the womb, releasing toxins,vaginal tightening and much more. If you’ve been in the market for good herbs to purchase for yoni steaming keep reading to find out some of my favorite herbs to steam with.

While you can definitely visit a holistic shop in person or online to get pre-packaged herbs, I like to mix and make my own. Here are my favorite herbs to use and their benefits.

  • Nettle, clears urinary tract infections, nourishes before and after childbirth
  • Red Raspberry Leaf, helps relieve and treat endometriosis and relieves cramping. It is also great as a tea
  • Motherwort, relieves vaginal dryness, stimulates uterine blood flow
  • Maca, supports a healthy libido
  • Burdock root, treats urinary tract infections, balances hormones
  • Rosemary, purifies and stimulates the yoni
  • Chamomile, helps with cramping, calms, soothes and smells amazing

I buy my herbs from a health food store which I am able to scoop myself and typically comes out to less than $4 a pack. Research the herbs that work best for what you are trying to achieve, purchase your desired herbs, then combine for your steam. Typically I use 3-5 different herbs at a time. I boil the herbs for 5-10 minutes, allow the water to sit for around 5 minutes or so before adding to my sitz bath. You can purchase a yoni steam chair online, or if you prefer going to a shop that does it, ask if you can bring your own herbs. Be sure if doing at home to make sure the water is not too hot as to not burn or damage your skin as vaginal skin is extremely sensitive and thin. Do not steam if you are pregnant as some herbs can affect your pregnancy.

Will you be making your own yoni steam herbs?

Categories
Hair

Tips To Help You Grow and Maintain Your Locs

So you finally made it to the stage where your locs have dropped and you’re gaining more length. Continuing to maintain and care for your locs is crucial for keeping them healthy and retaining length. Below are my top tips for maintaining and taking care of your locs.

Apple Cider Vinegar Soak

It’s inevitable, you are bound to get lint in your locs. Every few months try doing an apple cider vinegar and baking soda soak. You can find out more about it here.

Aloe Vera Gel

Consider using aloe vera gel when retwisting your locs. Unlike regular gels, aloe vera gel is 100% natural. This means that your locs won’t have as much product build-up. 

Dr. Bronner’s Shampoo

At least every 3 weeks, I wash my locs. Over the years, I have tried a ton of shampoo brands. But the one brand that has given me the squeakiest clean has been Dr. Bronners. Dr. Bronners comes in a variety of scents and sizes. I prefer the tea tree oil or the peppermint scented ones. Best of all Dr. Bronners is 100% natural.

Fewer Products The Better 

The fewer products are better. I try not to use a ton of products in my locs because it’s very easy to get product build-up and lint in your locs. Product build-up can lead to damaged locs. Plus it allows me to save both time and money. Find your staple products and stick to them. 

Beware of hair ties and Scrunchies

As my locs grew longer, I used to keep my locs up in a bun all of the time to keep them out of my face. Little did I know that I was damaging my locs. The parts of locs that were in direct contact with my hair ties were starting to thin out. Limit your usage of hair ties and scrunchies and instead use scarves or loc socks that come in many different colors and are less damaging to your locs.

Try Wrap A Loc Instead

At the beginning of my loc journey, I would use pipe cleaners to get those nice, bouncy curls. However, the pipe cleaners would snag my hair. Then I stumbled upon a product that changed the game, wrap a loc. Although they are a little pricey, they are worth the investment. No longer does my hair get snagged. They are easier to use than pipe cleaners. They last a long time and are easy to store. Can you tell me I stand by these?

Moisturize, moisturize,  moisturize 

This was a challenge for me because I couldn’t use the same products as when I had loose natural hair. I also didn’t want to build up products into my locs. Now, I moisturize every other day using water and coconut oil or sweet almond oil. In fact besides my shampoo, and aloe vera gel, I only use light oils on my locs. Find oils that are lightweight.

Leave Them Alone

Seriously, leave you’re locs alone. Locs grow best when you’re not touching them all the time which can be very tempting, especially in the beginning. That also means not retwisting your locs every 2-3 weeks. Retwisting too often can lead to breakage. I retwist only four times a year. Now you don’t have to be as extreme as me but retwisting less really does allow you to retain more length.

Those are my top tips for maintaining and retaining length when it comes to locks. What are some of your tips? Let us know in the comments section below!

Categories
Hair

DIY Pumpkin Hair Mask

Tis the season! Pumpkin is literally everywhere right now. From pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin teas, pies, and patches, we can never escape hearing or seeing the word pumpkin in the fall! In addition to the flavor, pumpkin is packed with vitamins and nutrients that work great for the hair as well as skin. The vitamins and nutrients found in pumpkin work well to prevent and stop excessive hair loss, boost hair’s moisture levels and promote hair growth. While we’ve been enjoying the season of pumpkin, we decided to share this unbelievable pumpkin hair mask that works great at restoring moisture to dry, lackluster hair. If you’ve been searching for the perfect pumpkin themed hair remedy, keep reading to find out how you can make this DIY Pumpkin hair mask, to give your hair the extra boost of moisture it’s been craving this season.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree 
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil 
How to apply
  1. Shampoo and condition hair with your favorite shampoo/conditioner combo
  2. Detangle hair
  3. Mix ingredients together until well combined 
  4. Apply the mixture from roots to ends of your hair
  5. Cover hair with a shower cap/plastic bag for 15-30 minutes
  6. Rinse well with cool water
  7. Style hair

Will you be trying this moisturizing pumpkin hair mask?

Categories
Healthy Foods & Drinks

How to make the Perfect Healthy Fall Pumpkin Smoothie

Pumpkin is the official mascot for fall. Whether pies, lattes, Halloween decor, patches or candy, it’s no denying that pumpkin seems to be everywhere you turn as soon as October 1st hits. While there are tons of ways to incorporate pumpkin into your life this season to simply be on trend, pumpkin also has many health benefits. Pumpkin is made of 94% water and is packed with Vitamin A. Pumpkin is also full of antioxidants which helps to protect the body against free radicals that can lead to sickness and disease. The low calorie count found in pumpkins can also help with weight loss. 

With so many endless possibilities for all things pumpkin, we decided to try our hand at a healthy but tasty pumpkin smoothie.  

Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 peeled and frozen banana
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup of non-dairy milk (I prefer almond, cashew, or coconut)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • pinch himalyan sea salt

Combine all ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Once well blended, it’s time to enjoy your healthy but tasty pumpkin smoothie!

Will you be trying this smoothie recipe?

Categories
Daily Inspiration

How To Manage Depression Symptoms While Job Hunting

Typically followed by stress, anxiety, and depression, unemployment is an experience that can affect anyone at anytime. The level at which it negatively affects a person depends on their individual resources and coping strategies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is currently 3.7% totaling a whopping 6 million people. There are also 4 million involuntary part-time workers unable to secure full-time work or are dealing with a reduction in hours situation. Numbers of dissatisfied employees working low-paying or ill-suited positions are unclear, but all of the above mentioned situations can be extremely depressing.    

Much of this depression may stem from a fear of failure, financial instability, history of episodes of depression, or losing a sense of purpose/direction. Much of our identity is intertwined with what we do for work. When this identity is underdeveloped or lost-even temporarily- depression can firmly plant it’s roots. While fixing depression is not always possible during situations such as these, there are plenty of ways to effectively manage symptoms.

Recognize Symptoms

Although negative feelings can be easily recognizable, the extent of emotional havoc can go unnoticed. This is why it’s important to recognize symptoms. Some people may cope by rejecting their feelings altogether. Stuffing them down, rather than acknowledging they exist can make the situation worse and make you less likely to seek help. Some symptoms to watch out for are irritability, not being able to sleep at night due to anxious thoughts, drinking or smoking more than usual, coping by engaging in anything excessively (eating, sex, etc.) feelings of worthlessness or self-deprecating thoughts.

Hustle And Market Yourself

This involves a little bit more than dropping applications in. This is a form of problem-focused coping, which is aimed towards eliminating the stressor altogether (job loss.) Problem-focused coping is consistently associated with obtaining reemployment. Create or update your LinkedIn. Tailor your resume and past job descriptions to the language and tone of the different companies to which you apply. Utilize social media to explore job opportunities. Facebook and Twitter especially have postings listed all the time and not just by hiring managers but by regular employees. Don’t be afraid to reach out to old acquaintances, your sibling’s ex’s, or people you went to high school with for information on who’s hiring or just to let them know what you do. It’s not weird it’s all part of adulting. 

Social Support

Studies show that having a strong circle in your corner for emotional support can help not only with depression, but with obtaining reemployment. The thought is that support helps with self-esteem, fighting against negative self-talk, and as an outlet for expressing emotions. People close to you can help you stay motivated in your job search as well as have their own eyes and ears out for job listings. 

Maintain Self-Esteem

Individuals with higher levels of self-esteem believe that re-employment is certainly achievable. They believe they possess the right tools and talents to navigate the job search ahead. Unemployment has been shown to more strongly affect the mental health of men over women due to household responsibilities. However, not being able to contribute financially to the home is a tremendous stressor that can negatively affect anyone’s self-esteem-male or female. To Maintaining feelings of usefulness is important- whether that’s increasing your help around the house, learning new skills to increase marketability, or creating a schedule to add routine to your day. 

Categories
Daily Inspiration

Mindful Social Media Practices

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, and many other platforms all share one thing in common: they’re vehicles that transport personal information to global society. Most people have an account with at least two of these. There appears to be an obsession or fixation with sharing pieces of our lives with the world and receiving some kind of feedback-whether it’s in the form of likes, comments, or private messages- just being acknowledged is a gratifying feeling. But as studies show, depression and anxiety can arise or worsen from too much time spent on social networks. There’s the risk that being attuned to everything going on in other’s lives makes us feel inadequate about our own. 

Also, when some people receive more attention than us in the form of likes or praise, we may ask ourselves, “what’s wrong with me?” “What am I lacking where this person is always more noticed than I am?” Countless thoughts can run through our brains that feed into a routine of negative thinking patterns. This is why it’s important to build awareness on properly navigating the waters of social media. 

Stay Away When You’re Feeling Grey.

If you’ve been feeling depressed lately, cutting down or eliminating daily social media usage until you feel better can help alleviate the weight of depression. Removing yourself from social media, if not just for a short time, can make you feel less lonely as well as cut down on those “fear of missing out” (FOMO) feelings.

Actively Engage With Others

Studies suggest passively browsing through news feeds, clicking through photos, and essentially “lurking” throughout social media is associated with a decrease in bonding and an increase in feelings of loneliness. This also can lead to envy and believing others’ have happier and successful lives. To reduce these feelings, it’s important to engage with other people. Drop comment here and there. Respond to comments. Join Facebook groups which are a more condensed, intimate setting and members are there for a specific purpose. 

Balance With Productive Activities

Negative moods can also be influenced by the idea of “time wasted” spent browsing through meaningless content. Balance this with hobbies that make you feel good about yourself. Clean the house. Be engaged at work. (Even if you hate your job and feel like your current role is doing nothing to better society!) Try to incorporate at least 1-2 productive activities in your day so that if you do find yourself aimlessly scrolling through your news feed, it won’t feel as if you have no life. 

Filter Content

Not interested in those baby ads? Too much sponsored content on subscription boxes you’ll never purchase? That girl at work keeps flaunting her new engagement ring when you know how miserable she is? Check out those three little dots in the corner of the post.Facebook allows you to hide particular ads and snooze people for 30 days. Many Twitter applications give you the option to hide certain content that may be driving you crazy. What are you reading or listening to right now? Based on your preferences, you should be able to filter content by topic for television, music, or books– anything of general interest. 

Let Social Media Make Your Life Easier

Have a purpose when you use social networks. Utilize hashtags to discover informational reviews on a new date night restaurant. Your new hairstylist or manicurist may be only an Instagram hashtag away. Facebook Marketplace is amazing and plenty of discounted items are at your fingertips. On Snapchat, many people use their awesome image filters to take fun photos without even uploading them. Instead they download to their phone to glance over later or upload to a different network. Job hunting is another opportunity in which you can engage. If you’re in the job market, enter “type of job”+”hiring” in the Twitter search box and see what you find. Employment managers frequently use social media to advertise job openings. Social media is a powerful tool you have more control over how it affects your life than you may realize.

Categories
Women's Health & Wellness

Feminine Hygiene Wash: DIY Recipe For Everyday Use

As many women may already know, the vagina is self-cleaning. However, due to external factors such as sweat, stress, diet, menstrual cycles, intimacy, underwear, soap choice etc, etc, sometimes your natural pH levels become thrown off and you need a little help in making sure everything is in tip top shape down there. If you’ve been searching for a natural cleansing solution to add to your feminine hygiene routine, follow the instructions below to make your own DIY natural feminine hygiene wash. 

Ingredients needed:

  • 1/2 cup witch hazel (alcohol-free)
  • 1/2 cup rose water
  • 3 tsp almond oil
  • 1 tsp castile soap (unscented)
  • ⅛ cup of aloe vera
  • ⅛ cup of vinegar 
  • 5-7 drops of essential oil ( I like chamomile, grapefruit, and tea tree oil)
  • Foaming soap dispenser

Castille soap is a gentle, natural cleansing method. Rose water and almond oil helps to calm and moisturize the skin. Aloe vera and vinegar help to balance pH levels. Tea tree, chamomile and grapefruit have calming, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

Add all of the ingredients to the soap dispenser and shake before use. This wash is not only natural, it’s super gentle and leaves you feeling clean and refreshed. You can use the wash daily as you would your normal wash.

Will you be trying this DIY Natural Feminine Hygiene Wash? Let us know

Categories
Women's Health & Wellness

Feeling lonely? Here’s Some Facts You Need To Know About Socially Isolating Yourself

Isolation is an experience that can be felt either emotionally or physically and self-imposed intentionally or unintentionally. For some people-especially those more introverted- it is almost a requirement to take some time away from others in order to recharge and breathe. Too much time in isolation, however, can wreak havoc on our mental stability. According to Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, social isolation is twice as harmful as obesity to our mental and physical health. To put that in perspective, obesity kills more people than smoking and car crashes combined.

Isolation may contribute to poor cognitive functioning and decline, negativity, depression, and physical health issues. It interferes with an individual’s ability to form stable and trusting relationships with others. When people feel socially isolated, however, they tend to try and fill the void in numerous ways. These include reminiscing about past relationships, connecting with fictional characters in television and books, or bonding with pets. 

Defining Social Isolation

    Isolation can manifest as the following:

  • Keeping important issues, feelings, and experiences to ourselves. Over the last two decades, the number of people saying they have no one to discuss important matters with has almost tripled. Researchers have found that this may stem from a loss in communal and neighborhood ties where connections are more superficial, geographically spread out, and one-dimensional.
  • Consistently retreating to the home and declining invitations to dinners, social events, hanging by family and friend’s homes, etc.
  • Physically avoiding visiting with family members
  • Assuming your personal struggles are a burden to others
  • Spending an exorbitant amount of time doing hobbies or work that excludes others
  • Having little idea of what’s going on with others

Why Are We So Isolated?

In 2019, everyone’s favorite culprit of social isolation is a smartphone and social media. Before that, it was thought to be television and video games. Not everyone spends hours a day in front of those things, however.

Busy Lives

What about mothers who spend a majority of their time watching their young children, cleaning, or running errands? What about the high school teacher who’s time is consumed interacting with teenagers and completing lesson plans? There is a range of different circumstances that contribute to people feeling lonely and isolated. In fact, we tend to feel our circumstances are so different, no one can relate. When these feelings creep up and threaten to make us uncomfortable, some people choose to bury themselves even further into isolated activities, thus creating a perpetual pattern difficult to recognize. 

Changes In Family Time

According to the American College of Pediatricians, family time eating dinner and engaging in distraction-free conversation has declined by about 30%. Family meals provide a structure for the day, giving meaning and context to family members-also allowing opportunity to feel seen and heard. Unfortunately, this sacred time is happening less and less.

Perceived Lack of Social Support

 Whether we feel unequipped to express ourselves, have a deep belief that others are untrustworthy, or the feeling of unloading on others brings great anxiety, it’s easy to assume there’s no one to turn to. It’s easy to assume we’re the only ones going through something-especially when everyone on Instagram looks like they’re winning. 

 What Can We Do?

 There are many reasons why people feel alone, but we have to remember that we cannot make it through life without others. It’s important to remember that there must be a healthy balance between alone time and isolated activities.

  • Stop being so critical of yourself. Don’t assume you’re broken, weak, or unworthy of telling others how you feel. While it takes a great deal of strength and courage to express emotions to others, it also takes strength to give yourself some compassion. Grace. Patience. Love. Kindness. All of these are words by which you need to live by.
  • Sleep and other self-care measures. Time and time again, sleep is encouraged by professionals to combat illness and as a preventative measure for many ailments. Although not always easy to come by-when opportunity arises to grab more zzz’s, it’s important to jump on it.
  • Therapy. Check out what kind of mental health care your insurance covers or research some free therapy services in your area. Perhaps depression and anxiety is the underlying cause of your isolation. Also, therapy isn’t a hit it-and-quit-it type of thing. Once you find a therapist you’re comfortable with, make it a point to go at least twice a month for several months.
  • Get uncomfortable and force yourself to reach out to family and friends-or strangers in an online support group. It’s amazing the amount of support that is out there. You just have to take the first step and seek it out.